From a Buick 8

From a Buick 8

infobox Book |
name = From a Buick 8
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption = First edition cover
author = Stephen King
cover_artist =
country = United States
language = English
series =
genre = Horror novel
publisher = Charles Scribner's Sons Simon & Schuster
release_date = September 24, 2002
media_type = Print (Hardcover)
pages = 512
isbn = ISBN 0-7432-2847-2
preceded_by = Black House
followed_by = The Colorado Kid

"From a Buick 8" is a novel by horror writer Stephen King. Published on September 24, 2002, this is the second novel by Stephen King to feature a supernatural car (the first one being "Christine", which like this novel is set in Pennsylvania); King's short story "Trucks" also involved paranormal events involving vehicles. According to the book sleeve: "From a Buick 8" is a novel about our fascination with deadly things, about our insistence on answers when there are none, about terror and courage in the face of the unknowable." The title comes from Bob Dylan's song "From a Buick 6", and is also clearly an homage to H.P. Lovecraft's short story "From Beyond", with which the novel shares thematic and plot elements. Award winning independent publisher Cemetery Dance Publications published a signed Limited Edition of the book which sold for $500 or more on eBay.

Stephen King says that he was inspired to write this book on a car trip he took in 1999. During the trip he stopped at a gas station in western Pennsylvania. While looking around he slipped and almost fell into a stream of water. The thought that he might not have been discovered until a much later time led him to the plot of the story. In the novel King describes a fatal automobile accident, and coincidentally King himself was the victim of a bad accident that almost killed him late in 1999. However, he said that he did not change any of the details in the novel to match his accident.

Plot summary

The novel is a series of recollections by the members of Troop D, a police barracks in western Pennsylvania. After Curt Wilcox, a well-liked member of Troop D, is killed by a drunk driver, his son Ned begins to visit Troop D. The cops, the dispatcher and the custodian quickly take a liking to him, and soon begin telling him about the "Buick 8" of the title. It is in some sense a ghost story in the way that the novel is about a group of people telling an old but unsettling tale. And while the Buick 8 is not a traditional ghost, it is indeed not of their world.

The Buick 8 resembles a vintage 1954 Buick Roadmaster, and was left at a gas station by a mysterious man dressed in black, who disappeared soon after leaving the car to be refueled. The "car" is later held by the Troop D police of rural Pennsylvania in one of their sheds. The car, they discover, is not a car at all. It appears to be a Buick, but the steering wheel doesn't move, the dashboard instruments are unmovable props, the car heals itself when scratched or dented, and all dirt and debris disappear from it.

Sandy Dearborn, now Sergeant Commanding of Troop D, is the main narrator of the book, and tells the story to Ned, discussing various things that have happened with the car, and his father's fascination with it. The car will frequently give off what they dub "light quakes," or large flashes of purple light over an extended period of time, and will occasionally "give birth" to strange plants and creatures that aren't anything like what they've seen in their world. Two people have disappeared in the vicinity of the car - a fellow trooper called Ennis and an escaped lowlife named Brian Lippy they picked up for drunk driving and being under the influence of angel dust. It is later evidenced in the book that perhaps one thing the Buick was: a portal, between our world and another.

After hearing the story of the Buick and how it has been kept secret for Troop D for so long, Ned becomes convinced that the car was somehow related to the death of his father in a seemingly random road accident. After all, the gas station attendant who first reported the Buick sitting in front of the station was the same man who, years later, would kill his father. Ned is determined to destroy the Buick, but before he can Sandy Dearborn realizes that the Buick, in fact, wants to take Ned into the world it controls as a sacrifice of sorts.

Sandy returns to the shed to find Ned sitting in it, and just as he pulls Ned out, the Buick transforms into a portal, trying to draw both Ned and Sandy inside of it. The rest of the staff arrive on the feeling something bad may happen, all of them helping recall the story of the Buick's origin at their station, and manage to pull Ned and Sandy free, but not before Sandy glimpses into the world on the other side of the Buick. He sees Lippy's swastika necklace and cowboy boot, along with Ennis's Stetson and Ruger.

The book closes with Ned joining the police force after dropping out of college, and he pulls Sandy over to Shed B, where the Buick is stored. The Buick's window is cracked, and Ned believes that the Buick will one day fall apart, having expended the last of its energy in that final show.

Major themes

The main theme of the book is that there will always be things in this world that we will never fully understand. The most obvious example of this is the Buick itself. We never learn where it came from, who the mysterious man that dropped it off was, or why it was even sent here in the first place. In the text, Sandy likens it to God - no one will ever know His plans, no one can ever make sense of them. Ned becomes frustrated as he learns the tale, as he wants explanations, and Sandy explains to him and to us in the narrative that there are no answers when it comes to the Buick. Even Curt Wilcox, Ned's Father who was so fascinated with the Buick, comes to give up on trying to pry the answers from it.

Another theme is the passage of legacy from father to son. Curt latches onto the Buick in a way that none of the other Troopers do. He focuses on it, tries to learn from it. His son Ned feels the same, which is why he makes the attempt to destroy it. When Ned reveals that he believes that the Buick will one day fall apart, Sandy comments that Ned looks truly happy to him for the first time. What the father started, the son finished.

Film, TV or theatrical adaptations

There is talk of a movie adaptation of this book. At the helm is veteran director Tobe Hooper, who also directed two other Stephen King adaptations, "Salem's Lot" and "The Mangler". The screenplay is written by Richard Chizmar, founder of Cemetery Dance Publications, and Johnathon Schaech, star of the Tom Hanks film, "That Thing You Do". Chesapeake Films is set to release it as their first production.

External links

* [ Pictures of the Limited Edition of From A Buick 8]
* [ Cemetery Dance Official Site]
*imdb title|id=0485907|title=From a Buick 8
* [ Stephen King Book Review From A Buick 8]

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